France crippled by strike double whammy

FRANCE was crippled by more strikes this week, thanks to union members protesting president Sarkozy’s planned raising of the retirement age.

The strike by airport staff, train drivers, teachers, and others, will only compound the chaos being brought by oil refinery strikes that have already been going on for over a week. As well as strikes at refineries, there have been blockades of certain fuel depots that have left the country gasping for fuel. The government was forced to release strategic industrial reserves to cope with demand.

The French civil aviation authority asked airlines to cancel half their flights from Paris’ Orly airport and a third at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. Air France said it will limit its cancellations only to domestic and European destinations.

“The reform is essential and France is committed to it and will go ahead with it just as our German partners did,” Sarkozy said after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They had been discussing how to deal with Europe’s pensions shortfall created by a rapidly ageing population.

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